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          Home / China / Cross-Straits

          Taiwan Taekwondo teacher now rooted in Fuzhou

          By HU MEIDONG in Fuzhou and ZHENG CAIXIONG | China Daily | Updated: 2022-08-23 07:34
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          Chen runs a taekwondo center and a second branch in Fuzhou. YE CHENG/FOR CHINA DAILY

          Instructor sees enormous potential for growth of sport on the mainland

          After four years as an entrepreneur, Chen Yan-ting said she has put down roots in Fuzhou, capital of Fujian province.

          The taekwondo coach from Taiwan is now running a taekwondo center and a second branch in the eastern metropolis, where she teaches some 80 students.

          Born in 1988, Chen received her 6th Dan grade from the Kukkiwon (the World Taekwondo Headquarters) in Seoul in March. She said she believed her gyms had great potential to expand and that she is optimistic about the development of the sport on the mainland, due to its large population.

          Chen teaches children and adults and said that she insists on putting quality first, as she believes more parents are willing to send their children for taekwondo lessons once they have seen the quality of the teaching at her gyms.

          She was designated a "Model of Young Entrepreneurs in Fuzhou" in May for her hard work and promotion of exchange across the Taiwan Straits. "I felt really happy and honored, and encouraged to do a better job and develop my career," Chen said.

          After years of living and working in Fuzhou, Chen said she likes the "city of banyan trees" more and more, and that life there makes her happy.

          She and her partner Chang Ya-wen, a classmate from junior high school in Taiwan, commute by bus between their subsidized public housing for Taiwan compatriots and their workplace.

          When Chen was first invited to Fuzhou for an exchange event in June 2017, she realized that there was huge potential for taekwondo in the city.

          Later that September, she returned with 20 children to take part in another cultural exchange event. Praised for their displays of the martial art, Chen's determination to start a business in Fuzhou deepened, and she and her partner relocated from Taiwan in January 2018.

          Starting a business wasn't easy at first. "When I was in Taipei, I had 120 students, but I had only three during my first six months in Fuzhou," she said, adding that she and Chang were also forced to change venues several times for a variety of reasons.

          They kept going, exploring the local market in depth and studying the promotional methods used on the mainland.

          They have offered discounts during festivals, holidays and special days including Mother's Day, Children's Day and during school summer vacations to attract more students and raise the popularity of their gyms.

          "After years of development, we have gradually been able to reduce our reliance on discounts to instead rely on the quality of our classes and our reputation to attract students," she said. "In addition, we received subsidies and help from the Fujian provincial and Fuzhou city governments when we encountered difficulties in the past."

          Chen Yan-ting instructs a member of her Taekwondo training class in Fuzhou, Fujian province. YE CHENG/FOR CHINA DAILY

          As a member of the Fujian Taekwondo Association, Chen hopes to do more to promote cultural and economic exchanges between the mainland and Taiwan, and bring more taekwondo coaches to Fuzhou in the coming years.

          Zeng Xuancheng, who trains with Chen, said that the Taiwan teacher is very strict. "But she is very nice and interesting after class, and often plays with us," Zeng said.

          Chen Xiemei, a trainee's mother, added that Chen is a good coach, teaches well and is particularly patient with her students.

          "She teaches our children like they were her own," she said, adding that she decided to send her child for lessons after the gym was recommended to her by another parent.

          Yang Jie in Fuzhou contributed to this story.

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